Quotes on Family

See also: The Family: A Proclamation to the World

As parenting declines, the need for policing increases.  There will always be a shortage of police if there is a shortage of effective parents!  Likewise, there will not be enough prisons if there are not enough good homes. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1994, p. 89

Note several terrible trends which, if uncorrected, will produce an even worse coalition of consequences.

            • In ten years, one-half of all children born in America will be illegitimate.

            • More and more children have no functioning fathers.  Already 70% of our juvenile criminals come from fatherless homes.

            • Less than half of the children born today will live continuously with their own mother and father throughout childhood.

            • One-fourth of all adolescents contract a sexually transmitted disease before they graduate from high school.

            • Fifty-five percent of American children under the age of six have both parents or their only parent working in the labor force. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1994, p. 88-89

The ultimate purpose of every teaching, every activity in the Church is that parents and their children are happy at home, sealed in an eternal marriage, and linked to their generations.

The ultimate purpose of the adversary, who has “great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time,” [Rev. 12:12] is to disrupt, disturb, and to destroy the home and the family.  Like a ship without a rudder, without a compass, we drift from the family values which have anchored us in the past.  Now we are caught in a current so strong that unless we correct our course, civilization as we know it will surely be wrecked to pieces. . . .

This crisis of the family is no surprise to the Church.  We have certainly known it was coming. . . .

Thirty-three years ago the Brethren warned us of the disintegration of the family and told us to prepare. . . .

The weekly family home evening was introduced by the First Presidency, who said that “the home is the basis of a righteous life and . . . no other instrumentality can take its place nor fulfil its essential functions.”  (Conference Report, 6 Oct. 1961, p. 79) — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1994, pp. 19-20

The distance between the Church and a world set on a course which we cannot follow will steadily increase.

Some will fall away into apostasy, break their covenants, and replace the plan of redemption with their own rules.

Across the world, those who now come by the tens of thousands will inevitably come as a flood to where the family is safe.  Here they will worship the Father in the name of Christ, by the gift of the Holy Ghost, and know that the gospel is the great plan of happiness. . . . — Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1994, p. 20

We need to strengthen our families.  We must recognize that the family is the cornerstone of civilization and that no nation will rise above the caliber of its homes.  The family is the rock foundation of the Church.  We therefore call on the head of every household to strengthen the family. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, August 1993, p. 2

How beautiful is the marriage of a young man and a young woman who begin their lives together kneeling at the altar in the house of the Lord, pledging their love and loyalty one to another for time and all eternity.  When children come into that home, they are nurtured and cared for, loved and blessed with the feeling that their father loves their mother.  In that environment they find peace and strength and security.  Watching their father, they develop respect for women.  They are taught self-control and self-discipline which bring the strength to avoid later tragedy. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November 1991, p. 52

President Benson has always emphasized the strength of youth and our responsibility to youth.  He counseled:  “One great thing the Lord requires of each of us is to provide a home where a happy, positive influence for good exists.  In future years the costliness of home furnishings or the number of bathrooms will not matter much, but what will matter significantly is whether our children felt love and acceptance in the home.  It will greatly matter whether there was happiness and laughter, or bickering and contention.”  (Ensign, May 1981, p. 34) — President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, November 1991, p. 87

The family is society’s strongest and most important institution.  Where it has survived, it has done so as a matter of highest priority.  Individual interests have been subordinated to the interests of the group.  Sacrifice has exceeded selfishness.  Loyalty, respect for the family name, pride in one another’s achievements, and shared quality time have been pre-eminent. — Elder J. Richard Clarke, General Conference, April 1989

While our individual salvation is based on our individual obedience, it is equally important that we understand that we are each an important and integral part of a family and the highest blessings can be received only within an eternal family.  When families are functioning as designed by God, the relationships found therein are the most valued of mortality.  The plan of the Father is that family love and companionship will continue into the eternities.  Being one in a family carries a great responsibility of caring, loving, lifting, and strengthening each member of the family so that all can righteously endure to the end in mortality and dwell together throughout eternity.

It is not enough just to save ourselves.  It is equally important that parents, brothers, and sisters are saved in our families.  If we return home alone to our Heavenly Father, we will be asked, ‘Where is the rest of the family?’  This is why we teach that families are forever.  The eternal nature of an individual becomes the eternal nature of the family. — Elder Robert D. Hales, “The Eternal Family,” Ensign, November 1996, p. 65

A family can be together forever.  Though each of us will pass through the doors of death, the timing of that departure is less important than is the preparation for eternal life. Part of that preparation includes service in the Church.  It is not to be a burden but a blessing to a family.  The Lord said, “Thy duty is unto the church forever, and this because of thy family” (D&C 23:3).

 . . . Each of you will more fully understand that concept in light of this scriptural promise:

“If a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them . . . [they] shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, . . . exaltation and glory in all things, . . . which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever” (D&C 132:19).

A promise like that is worth your personal effort and endurance. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Constancy Amid Change,” Ensign, November 1993, pp. 33-36

When we stand before the bar of God, there will be little mention of how much wealth we accumulated in life or of any honors which we may have achieved.  But there will be searching questions concerning our domestic relations. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Personal Worthiness to Exercise the Priesthood,” Ensign, May 2002, p. 54

With the Lord, families are essential.  He created the earth that we could gain physical bodies and form families.  He established His Church to exalt families.  He provides temples so that families can be together forever. 

Of course, He expects fathers to preside over, provide for, and protect their families.  But the Master has asked for much more.  Etched in sacred scripture is a commandment to “set in order thy house.”  Once we as parents understand the importance and meaning of that commandment, we need to learn how to do it. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Set in Order Thy House,” Ensign, November 2001, p. 69

So fundamental is the family unit to the plan of salvation that God has declared a warning that those “individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God [their maker]. . . . The disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

While our individual salvation is based on our individual obedience, it is equally important that we understand that we are each an important and integral part of a family and the highest blessings can be received only within an eternal family.  When families are functioning as designed by God, the relationships found therein are the most valued of mortality.  The plan of the Father is that family love and companionship will continue into the eternities.  Being one in a family carries a great responsibility of caring, loving, lifting, and strengthening each member of the family so that all can righteously endure to the end in mortality and dwell together throughout eternity.  It is not enough just to save ourselves. It is equally important that parents, brothers, and sisters are saved in our families.  If we return home alone to our Heavenly Father, we will be asked, “Where is the rest of the family?”  This is why we teach that families are forever.  The eternal nature of an individual becomes the eternal nature of the family.

The eternal nature of our body and our spirit is a question often pondered by those who live in mortality.  All people who will ever live on earth are members of a human family and are eternal children of God, our loving Heavenly Father.  After birth and tasting of death in mortality, all will be resurrected because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God the Father.  Depending on our individual obedience to the laws, ordinances, and commandments of God, each mortal can have the blessing of attaining eternal life; that is, returning to live in the presence of their Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, having eternal increase for all the eternities to come.  Through making and keeping the sacred covenants found in the temple ordinances, individuals can return to the presence of God and will be reunited with their families eternally. — Elder Robert D. Hales, “The Eternal Family,” Ensign, November 1996, p. 65 

College students should not put off creating families until they have completed all of their studies, Elder Russell M. Nelson said Sunday. . . .

He urged college students in the Marriott Center at BYU and gathered in LDS Institutes of Religion around the world to visualize their life in 50 years.

By then, careers would be over and faith and families would be their focal points.

“Broad minds and narrow waists would have traded places,” he said.

He urged his listeners to seek first to follow the teachings of the church, which includes the commandment to create families, before seeking wealth.

“The beauty of family is much more than physical.  It is spiritual,” he said.

Times have changed in half a century.  “Temptation and sin exceeds anything we knew in our day,” he said.  “Satan is waging war directly at the heart of God’s plan – the family.”

LDS Church leaders wrote “The Family – A Proclamation to the World” when they became very worried about the state of the family.  LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley read it for the first time on Sept. 23, 1995 at a General Relief Society meeting.

“If you heed this proclamation, you will be blessed,” Elder Nelson said. — “Fireside focuses on families,” Deseret Morning News, February 7, 2005, p. 8

The proclamation [“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”] is a prophetic document, not only because it was issued by prophets but because it was ahead of its time. It warns against many of the very things that have threatened and undermined families during the last decade and calls for the priority and the emphasis families need if they are to survive in an environment that seems ever more toxic to traditional marriage and to parent-child relationships.

The proclamation’s clear and simple language stands in stark contrast to the confused and convoluted notions of a society that cannot even agree on a definition of family, let alone supply the help and support parents and families need.  You are familiar with such words from the proclamation as these:

                  “Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.”

                  “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

                  “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.”

                  “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”

                  “The disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”

And the last words of the proclamation express the simple truth that the family is “the fundamental unit of society.” — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “What Matters Most is What Lasts Longest,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 41

In the name of “tolerance,” the definition of family has been expanded beyond recognition to the point that “family” can be any individuals of any gender who live together with or without commitment or children or attention to consequence. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “What Matters Most is What Lasts Longest,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 42

As we hold up like a banner the proclamation to the world on the family and as we live and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will fulfill the measure of our creation here on earth.  We will find peace and happiness here and in the world to come. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “What Matters Most is What Lasts Longest,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 44

We are of God’s family.  We are His sons and daughters, created in the image of heavenly parents.  “No greater ideal has been revealed,” taught President Boyd K. Packer, “than the supernal truth that we are the children of God, and we differ, by virtue of our creation, from all other living things.  (See Moses 6:8-10, 22, 59.)  No idea has been more destructive of happiness, no philosophy has produced more sorrow, more heartbreak and mischief; no idea has done more to destroy the family than the idea that we are not the offspring of God, only advanced animals, compelled to yield to every carnal urge.” — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “Our Moral Environment,” Ensign, May 1992, p. 67; “Created in the Image of God, Male and Female,” Ensign, January 2005, p. 49

Gender is part of our eternal identity and is necessary for our eternal progression.  President Packer explained: “The plan of happiness requires the righteous union of male and female, man and woman, husband and wife. . . . A body patterned after the image of God was created for Adam, and he was introduced into the Garden.  At first, Adam was alone. . . . But alone, he could not fulfill the purposes of his creation.  No other man would do.  Neither alone nor with other men could Adam progress.  Nor could Eve with another woman.  It was so then.  It is so today.  Eve, an help meet, was created.  Marriage was instituted.”— Elder Boyd K. Packer, “For Time and All Eternity,” Ensign, November 1993, p. 21; “Created in the Image of God, Male and Female,” Ensign, January 2005, p. 49

I can imagine few, if any, things more objectionable in the home than the absence of unity and harmony.  On the other hand, I know that a home in which unity, mutual helpfulness, and love abide is just a bit of heaven on earth. Teachings of Presidents of the Church, David O. McKay, p. 43

The Lord said to the woman:  “. . . in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.”  (Moses 4:22)   I wonder if those who translated the Bible might have used the term distress instead of sorrow.  It would mean much the same, except I think there is a great gladness in most Latter-day Saint homes when there is to be a child there.  As He concludes this statement He says, “and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”  (Genesis 3:16)  I have a question about the word rule.  It gives the wrong impression.  I would prefer to use the word preside because that’s what he does.  A righteous husband presides over his wife and family. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, March 1976, p. 72

Now, here is my counsel to children.  The Lord gave you a commandment with a promise:  “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”  It is the only one of the Ten Commandments with a promise.  You may not have parents that are living.  In some cases, you may not feel that your parents are worthy of the honor and respect of their children.  You may not even have ever known them.  But you owe them life.  And in every case, even if your life is not lengthened, its quality will be improved simply by remembering your parents with honor. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Our Perfect Example,” General Conference, October 2009

The family is eternal.  Love must be nurtured.  It must be spoken.  We must put away our pride, our haughtiness, our shyness, our misunderstandings, and with humility say, “I love you.  Is there something I can do to help you?”  You can never be completely happy under any other circumstances. — Marjorie Hinckley

I found a talk given by President Spencer W. Kimball in 1980.  It was chilling to me. He said:  “Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing.  The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us.

“. . . There are those who would define the family in such a nontraditional way that they would define it out of existence. . . .

“We of all people, brothers and sisters, should not be taken in by the specious arguments that the family unit is somehow tied to a particular phase of development a mortal society is going through.  We are free to resist those moves which downplay the significance of the family and which play up the significance of selfish individualism.  We know the family to be eternal.  We know that when things go wrong in the family, things go wrong in every other institution in society.”  (Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Oct. 1980, 3-4; or Ensign, Nov. 1980, p. 4) — Julie B. Beck, “Nourishing and Protecting the Family,” BYU Women’s Conference, May 1, 2009

The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children might be happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood. — President Boyd K. Packer, “The Power of the Priesthood,” Ensign, May 2010, p. 9

The greatest missionary work we will ever do will be in our homes.  Our homes, quorums, and classes are part of the mission field.  Our children and grandchildren are our most important investigators. — Elder Robert D. Hales, “Our Duty to God: The Mission of Parents and Leaders to the Rising Generation,” Ensign, May 2010, p. 97

Because we are being constantly exposed to the world’s definition of greatness, it is understandable that we might make comparisons between what we are and what others are – or seem to be – and also between what we have and what others have.  Although it is true that making comparisons can be beneficial and may motivate us to accomplish much good and to improve our lives, we often allow unfair and improper comparisons to destroy our happiness when they cause us to feel unfulfilled or inadequate or unsuccessful.  Sometimes, because of these feelings, we are led into error and dwell on our failures while ignoring aspects of our lives that may contain elements of true greatness.

In 1905, President Joseph F. Smith made this most profound statement about true greatness:  “Those things which we call extraordinary, remarkable, or unusual may make history, but they do not make real life.  After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all mankind, is the truest greatness.  To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman.” (Juvenile Instructor, 15 Dec. 1905, p. 752) — President Howard W. Hunter, “What Is True Greatness?” Ensign, September 1987, p. 70

We cannot afford to be complacent.  We live in perilous times; the signs are all around us.  We are acutely aware of the negative influences in our society that stalk traditional families.  At times television and movies portray worldly and immoral heroes and heroines and attempt to hold up as role models some actors and actresses whose lives are anything but exemplary.  Why should we follow a blind guide?  Radios blare forth much denigrating music with blatant lyrics, dangerous invitations, and descriptions of almost every type of evil imaginable.

We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, must stand up to the dangers which surround us and our families. — President Thomas S. Monson, “The Sacred Call of Service,” Ensign, May 2005

The amount of children-and-parent time absorbed in the good activities of private lessons, team sports, and other school and club activities also needs to be carefully regulated.  Otherwise, children will be over-scheduled, and parents will be frazzled and frustrated.  Parents should act to preserve time for family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, and the other precious togetherness and individual one-on-one time that binds a family together and fixes children’s values on things of eternal worth.  Parents should teach gospel priorities through what they do with their children.

Family experts have warned against what they call “the over scheduling of children.” In the last generation children are far busier and families spend far less time together. Among many measures of this disturbing trend are the reports that structured sports time has doubled, but children’s free time has declined by 12 hours per week, and unstructured outdoor activities have fallen by 50 percent. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks  “Good, Better, Best,” Ensign, November 2007

When evil wants to strike out and disrupt the essence of God’s work, it attacks the family.  It does so by attempting to disregard the law of chastity, to confuse gender, to desensitize violence, to make crude and blasphemous language the norm, and to make immoral and deviant behavior seem like the rule rather than the exception. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Let Our Voices Be Heard,” Ensign, November 2003, p. 18

Next to one’s own self, the responsibility, the blessing, and great opportunity for lovingly sustaining an individual until he or she leaves mortality rests upon his or her family – parents for their children, children for their parents.  The same covenant that obligates parents to care for their children also obligates children to care for their parents when they need it.  The commandment to “honor thy father and thy mother” extends to modern Israel and is required for all who are faithful members of the Church. — President Marion G. Romney, “Principles of Temporal Salvation,” Ensign, April 1981, p. 4

A true Latter-day Saint family is a haven against the storms and struggles of life. Inspired men have long taught that the home is the cradle of civilization and the foundation of society.  But the Lord, through his prophets, teaches us much more than this, for we know that it is exalted families that will make up the divine patriarchal order which will be the source of kingdoms and glory for the faithful in eternity.

What are the seeds that must be planted in the home in order for the family to achieve these fruits of peace, love, and harmony?  From a welfare services point of view, they may best be summarized in the standards of personal preparedness. . . .

. . . Let us practice the principles of personal and family preparedness in our daily lives. “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30). — President Spencer W. Kimball, “The Fruit of Our Welfare Services Labors,” Ensign, November 1978, p. 75

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the plan by which we can become what children of God are supposed to become.  This spotless and perfected state will result from a steady succession of covenants, ordinances, and actions, an accumulation of right choices, and from continuing repentance. “This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God” (Alma 34:32).

Now is the time for each of us to work toward our personal conversion, toward becoming what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.  As we do so, we should remember that our family relationships – even more than our Church callings – are the setting in which the most important part of that development can occur.  The conversion we must achieve requires us to be a good husband and father or a good wife and mother. Being a successful Church leader is not enough.  Exaltation is an eternal family experience, and it is our mortal family experiences that are best suited to prepare us for it. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, November 2000, p. 33

When I take a small pebble and place it directly in front of my eye, it takes on the appearance of a mighty boulder.  It is all I can see.  It becomes all-consuming – like the problems of a loved one that affect our lives every waking moment.  When the things you realistically can do to help are done, leave the matter in the hands of the Lord and worry no more.  Do not feel guilty because you cannot do more.  Do not waste your energy on useless worry.  The Lord will take the pebble that fills your vision and cast it down among the challenges you will face in your eternal progress.  It will then be seen in perspective. In time, you will feel impressions and know how to give further help.  You will find more peace and happiness, will not neglect others that need you, and will be able to give greater help because of that eternal perspective. — Elder Richard G. Scott

While few human challenges are greater than that of being good parents, few opportunities offer greater potential for joy.  Surely no more important work is to be done in this world than preparing our children to be God-fearing, happy, honorable, and productive.  Parents will find no more fulfilling happiness than to have their children honor them and their teachings.  It is the glory of parenthood. John testified, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4.)

In my opinion, the teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life.  This is especially so when moral foundations of honor and decency are eroding around us. To have successful homes, values must be taught, and there must be rules, there must be standards, and there must be absolutes. — President James E. Faust, “The Greatest Challenge in the World – Good Parenting,” Ensign, November 1990, p. 32

Because we are being constantly exposed to the world’s definition of greatness, it is understandable that we might make comparisons between what we are and what others are – or seem to be – and also between what we have and what others have.  Although it is true that making comparisons can be beneficial and may motivate us to accomplish much good and to improve our lives, we often allow unfair and improper comparisons to destroy our happiness when they cause us to feel unfulfilled or inadequate or unsuccessful.  Sometimes, because of these feelings, we are led into error and dwell on our failures while ignoring aspects of our lives that may contain elements of true greatness.

In 1905, President Joseph F. Smith made this most profound statement about true greatness:  “Those things which we call extraordinary, remarkable, or unusual may make history, but they do not make real life.”  After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all mankind, is the truest greatness.  To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman. — President Howard W. Hunter, Source: “What Is True Greatness?” Ensign, September 1987, p. 70; Juvenile Instructor, 15 Dec. 1905, p. 752

People who argue that they have constitutional rights and want to use what they call their free agency to accomplish unrighteous ends abuse the idea of free agency and deprive others of their constitutional rights.  While many of our problems are caused by those who are deliberately trying to further their own selfish and devilish interests, there is also a vocal, misled minority which is responsible for other problems as they exist in our country and in our communities.  We must be equally vocal and firm in our efforts to maintain the quality of our surroundings, where we can enjoy family solidarity, which is the strength of any nation.  We must take a firm stand against the concerted efforts in many areas to destroy the family unit. — Elder N. Eldon Tanner, “Thou Mayest Choose for Thyself,” Ensign, July 1973, p. 7

One of the most difficult parental challenges is to appropriately discipline children. Child rearing is so individualistic.  Every child is different and unique.  What works with one may not work with another.

I do not know who is wise enough to say what discipline is too harsh or what is too lenient except the parents of the children themselves, who love them most.  It is a matter of prayerful discernment for the parents. Certainly the overarching and undergirding principle is that the discipline of children must be motivated more by love than by punishment.  Brigham Young counseled, “If you are ever called upon to chasten a person, never chasten beyond the balm you have within you to bind up.”  (In Journal of Discourses, 9:124–25)

Direction and discipline are, however, certainly an indispensable part of child rearing.  If parents do not discipline their children, then the public will discipline them in a way the parents do not like.  Without discipline, children will not respect either the rules of the home or of society. — President James E. Faust, “The Greatest Challenge in the World – Good Parenting,” Ensign, November 1990, p. 32

The things you say, the tone of your voice, the anger or calm of your words – these things are noticed by your children and by others.  They see and learn both the kind and the unkind things we say or do.  Nothing exposes our true selves more than how we treat one another in the home. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Virtue of Kindness,” Liahona, May 2005, pp. 26–28

You know that your children will read.  They will read books and they will read magazines and newspapers.  Cultivate within them a taste for the best.  While they are very young, read to them the great stories which have become immortal because of the virtues they teach.  Expose them to good books.  Let there be a corner somewhere in your house, be it ever so small, where they will see at least a few books of the kind upon which great minds have been nourished. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November 1975, p. 39

All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother.  — Abraham Lincoln

Married people should be best friends; no relationship on earth needs friendship as much as marriage. 

I have in my possession a letter written by a young widowed immigrant in the early days of the Church.  It was written in 1848 in Honeycreek, Missouri, to her husband’s mother and sister in England.  He had died on the sailing vessel en route, leaving her and the two boys to make their way west with the Saints, heartsick and alone.  She wrote the letter that changed my life a little.  Maybe it will yours.
            She began, “Dear Mother and dear Hannah, your dearly beloved son and my best friend has gone the way of all the earth.  Dearer to me in life than life itself, he’s gone.  Oh Mother, Mother, what am I to do?”
            And then she told of her love for this, her best friend, and that she would rear these two boys in the kingdom and in his image and in the admonition of the Lord.
            A tear came as I asked myself if that letter could have been written at my house.  — Elder Marion D. Hanks, “Eternal Marriage,” Ensign November 1984

As you develop your capacity to love unconditionally, remember that listening is a part of showing love.  If your home is a home where children are listened to, even when what they say doesn’t seem important or you don’t feel you have time, then you are preparing hearts.  Can we listen openly to a shocking experience without going into a state of shock ourselves, or without an immediate verbal overreaction?  We all know there is a time to talk and a time to listen.  To listen with patience to a young person’s reasons for getting home late will bring you undying gratitude. Remember, you can listen to understand, not necessarily to agree.  Ofttimes we do our best teaching when we listen. Husband-and-wife relationships are nourished and strengthened as we listen to each other more.  Hearts are softened. — Elder H. Burke Peterson, “Preparing the Heart,” Ensign, May 1990, p. 83

May I just read to you from the Prophet Joseph what I assume is the responsibility for the living as well as for the dead.  You all know the language for the dead.  You all understand our obligation to seal our families back through every generation.  What I’m not sure we have understood – in those revelations about work for the dead and baptism for the dead and sealings and why temples are built – is the language from the lips of the Prophet Joseph Smith himself about what we’re obligated to do for the living, indeed the living in our own households, indeed, the children at our knee who eat at our table and pray at our beside.  Let me give you that language from section 128: Quoting Malachi, the Prophet Joseph Smith said (I’m in verse 17 if anybody wants to follow):

“Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

Now, I think everyone understands, especially in terms of the work for the dead, the idea of turning the heart of the children to their fathers, but what is the meaning for your family in turning the heart of the fathers to the children?  I think he goes on to talk about that.

I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands.  It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind. . . . It is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time.  And not only this . . . [not only the dispensational ties, but in our time in 1981 on this BYU campus, in your home] . . . not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.

As I understand it, that latter portion of the scripture just read has nothing to do with work for the dead or sealing back through generations to Adam.  No, it has to do with things that have been hidden from the wise and prudent and they are to be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fullness of times, in this, your home and mine, today. — Jeffrey R. Holland, BYU president, “That Our Children May Know,” BYU Campus Education Week, August 25, 1981

Yes, life can be fast-paced for parents and is becoming so for children.  It would be easy to say there is not enough time to fit everything in.  Looking back at a time that passed all too quickly, I can now see that each day was filled with precious little moments full of opportunity to help our children hear the “voice of gladness” in the gospel.  Children are always learning from us.  They are learning what is important by what we choose to do as well as what we choose not to do.  Casual, infrequent family prayers, scripture study, and family home evenings will not be enough to fortify our children.  Where will children learn the gospel and standards such as chastity, integrity, and honesty if not at home? These values can be reinforced at church, but parents are the most capable and most effective in teaching them to their children.— Coleen K. Menlove. Primary General President, “A Voice of Gladnessfor Our Children,” Liahona, November 2002, pp. 13-15

Fathers, not only do you have the right to know the worthiness of your children, you have the responsibility.  It is your duty to know how your children are doing with regards to their spiritual well-being and progression. . . . Ask specific questions regarding their worthiness, and refuse to settle for anything less than specific answers. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “The Greatest Generation of Missionaries,”Ensign, November 2002, p. 48

As a young seminary teacher, a group of us were in a room with Antoine R. Ivins of the First Quorum of the Seventy, then a very venerable older man.  He had been born in a dugout down in Southern Utah.  We were asking him questions.  It is a wonderful thing to ask questions of a General Authority.

I asked him the question that was most on my mind as a young seminary teacher about a rascal of a boy in the class.  The substance of my question was, “How long do I have to put up with that.” 

He didn’t answer for a long time.  He sat on a table at the front of the room, swinging his feet a little, looking at the floor.  Then he said six words, “What if it were your boy.”  I had learned something that I have never forgotten. — President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve, June 20, 2000

When parents fail to transmit testimony and theology along with decency, those families are only one generation from serious spiritual decline, having lost their savor.  The law of the harvest is nowhere more in evidence and nowhere more relentless than in family gardens! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Take Especial Care of Your Family’,” Ensign, May 1994, p. 88

We can only imagine where we would be if we were just now reacting to this terrible redefinition of the family.  But that is not the case.  We are not casting frantically about trying to decide what to do.  We know what to do and what to teach.

The family is very much alive and well in the Church.  Hundreds of thousands of happy families face life with an unwavering faith in the future.

The course we follow is not of our own making.  The plan of salvation, the great plan of happiness, was revealed to us, and the prophets and Apostles continue to receive revelation as the Church and its members stand in need of more. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “The Father and the Family,” Ensign, May 1994, p. 19

A good member of the Church must understand the implications of his beliefs with regard to the home.  This different commitment will mean, among many things, knowing that family life is a constant challenge, not a periodic performance we can render on a stage quickly and run for the privacy of a “dressing room” to be alone with ourselves, for the home gives us a great chance to align our public and private behavior, to reduce the hypocrisy in our lives, to be more congruent with Christ. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “The Value of Home Life,” Ensign, Feb 1972, p. 4

There is a simple answer for every problem.  And because the need for leadership increases with the importance of the institution that it serves, leadership in the home assumes the greatest possible importance.  “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”  (President David O. McKay.)  The basic organization on which everyone’s happiness depends is the family.  The finest family leadership is always supplemented by and coordinated with the Church.  God established the family and then his Son came into the world to organize the Church and to make available those great principles on which every success depends. — Elder Sterling W. Sill, “A Personal Observation: The Problem Is Always the Same,” Ensign, March 1973, p. 34

Nephi was submissive to his father, at least partly because of experiences that had assured him that God does answer prayers even in minute concerns of men and families. Lehi had wisely provided experiences where Nephi could find that out for himself.  A child can be given responsibilities in settings that make it likely he will turn to God for guidance. With those experiences, he can far more easily feel confident and safe in following a father who also seeks this help. — Elder Henry B. Eyring, “Family Followership,” Ensign, Apr 1973, p. 29

The mission of the Church to its members is to make available the principles, programs, and priesthood by which they can prepare themselves for exaltation.  Our success, individually and as a Church, will largely be determined by how faithfully we focus on living the gospel in the home.  Only as we see clearly the responsibilities of each individual and the role of families and homes can we properly understand that  priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations, even wards and stakes, exist primarily to help members live the gospel in the home.  Then we can understand that people are more important than programs, and that Church programs should always support and never detract from gospel-centered family activities. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Living the Gospel in the Home,” Ensign, May 1978, p. 100

Those things which we call extraordinary, remarkable, or unusual may make history, but they do not make real life.

After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all mankind, is the truest greatness.  To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman. — President Joseph F. Smith, Juvenile Instructor, 15 December 1905, p. 752

Think of the power for good as you gather your family together and thank God for all of his blessings.  Think of the eternal significance of daily thanking him for each member of your family and asking him to guide and bless and protect each one.  Think of the strength that will come to your family as, daily, one member or another pours out his or her soul in love to God for other family members. — Elder John H. Groberg, “The Power of Family Prayer,” Ensign, May 1982, p. 50

We must strive for greater spirituality in our relationships, and especially in our homes.  Literally taking the Lord into partnership with us will bring us a full measure of peace, happiness, unity, and contentment.  We need these blessings in our lives to be what we ought to be – more adequate vessels for the work which we have been commissioned to do.  We have the responsibility to bless the lives of others.  If our own lives and spiritual batteries are not full and complete, how can we expect to touch the world and bless others? — Elder James E. Faust, “‘Brethren, Love Your Wives,” Ensign, July 1981, p. 34

We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly.  It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention. . . . The voice of heaven is a still small voice; likewise, the voice of domestic peace is a quiet voice. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Except the Lord Build the House …” June 1971, p. 82

We shall prosper and build up Zion upon the earth; for this is our mission, and the work of your mothers and daughters of Zion – the mothers now, and by and by the daughters, who will, in turn, be mothers in Israel.  Great responsibility rests upon you.  Upon you depend the training and the direction of the thoughts and the inspiration of the hearts of your children, for they drink into the spirit of their mothers, and the influence of the mother over the children is the most enduring impression that can be made.  There is nothing so imperishable as the influence of the mother; that is when she is good and has the spirit of the Gospel in her heart, and she has brought up her children in the way they should go. — Joseph F. Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], p. 33

In order to strengthen the father in the home, I make two simple suggestions: first, sustain and respect the father in his position; second, give him love, understanding, and some appreciation for his efforts. . . .

In terms of giving fathers love and understanding, it should be remembered that fathers also have times of insecurity and doubt.  Everyone knows fathers make mistakes – especially they themselves.  Fathers need all the help they can get; mostly they need love, support, and understanding from their own. — President James E. Faust, “The Father Who Cares,” Liahona, Sept. 2006, p. 4

I have meditated upon the subject, and asked the question, why it is that infants, innocent children, are taken away from us, especially those that seem to be the most intelligent and interesting.  The strongest reasons that present themselves to my mind are these:  This world is a very wicked world; and it is a proverb that the “world grows weaker and wiser;” if that is the case, the world grows more wicked and corrupt.  In the earlier ages of the world a righteous man, and a man of God and of intelligence, had a better chance to do good, to be believed and received than at the present day: but in these days such a man is much opposed and persecuted by most of the inhabitants of the earth, and he has much sorrow to pass through here.

The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again. — Joseph Smith: DHC 4:553

And in that same inspired declaration by revelation [D&C 68:25-28], the Lord gave us what we might style as a five-point program by which parents could teach faith.  First, he said, their children were to be baptized when they had reached the age of accountability at eight years; second, they were to be taught to pray; third, they were to be taught to walk uprightly before the Lord; fourth, they were to be taught to keep the Sabbath day holy; and fifth, they were to be schooled not to be idle, either in the Church or in their private lives. All parents who have followed that formula and have so taught their children have reaped the reward of an increased faith in their family, which has stood and will yet stand the test of the difficulties into which their children would yet go.  — President Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, October 1952, p. 17

One of the best ways to protect your home from evil influences is to gather together as a family and pray a prayer of dedication.  These prayers should establish the family dwelling as the following: 

A place of worship.
A safe harbor from the world.            

A healthy environment in which to grow spiritually.

An atmosphere of encouragement and love where family relationships can grow ever closer.

Once the family has dedicated its home, each member has a responsibility to uphold this dedication.  Fathers and mothers must monitor the content and time spent in non-spiritual entertainment.  In these days where cable television with no censorship is prevalent in the common household, parents have a sacred duty to protect their offspring from obscenity, pornography and all unwholesome material, be it visual or oral.  Likewise, young people must exercise wisdom and discernment in what they see and hear. — LDS Church News, 06/03/95

In a time that we have been told would be much as in the days of Noah, we must help our young to learn how to make right choices, to grow in justified self-esteem, especially when they can be under the direct influence of the home, where family love can make repentance both possible and significant.  The environment of our young outside the home and Church will often be either empty, so far as values are concerned, or contain ideas that contradict the principles of the gospel. 

It seems clear to me that the Church has no choice – and never has had – but to do more to assist the family in carrying out its divine mission, not only because that is the order of heaven, but also because that is the most practical contribution we can make to our youth – to help improve the quality of life in the Latter-day Saint homes. — President Harold B. Lee, “Preparing Our Youth,” Ensign, March 1971

In God’s eternal plan, salvation is an individual matter; exaltation is a family matter. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Salvation and Exaltation,” Ensign, May 2008, pp. 7-10

When the resurrected Lord appeared on this hemisphere and taught the people, the record states that as he spoke to them, “he wept, . . and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.

            “And when he had done this he wept again” (3 Ne. 17:21–22).
            There is no more tender and beautiful picture in all of sacred writing than this simple language describing the love of the Savior for little children.
            Of all the joys of life, none other equals that of happy parenthood.  Of all the responsibilities with which we struggle, none other is so serious.  To rear children in an atmosphere of love, security, and faith is the most rewarding of all challenges.  The good result from such efforts becomes life’s most satisfying compensation. 

President Joseph F. Smith said on one occasion: “After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all mankind, is the truest greatness.  To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman.  One is universal and eternal greatness, the other is ephemeral” (Gospel Doctrine, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939, p. 285).

I am satisfied that no other experiences of life draw us nearer to heaven than those that exist between happy parents and happy children. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Save the Children,” Ensign, November 1994, p. 52

Teach your children real faith in a real God, a person, a being who exists and who understands all our feelings and our emotions, having passed through the experiences that we are now passing through and who is the very embodiment of everything that is right and true and good throughout the whole universe, all that is pure, all that is enlightening, all that is intelligent, all that is sympathetic, all that there is in life, and faith and truth are embodied in him, and he is the expression of these eternal verities to us. — Elder Charles W. Penrose, Conference Report, April 1921

Parental teaching moments need not be big or dramatic or powerful.  We learn this from the Master Teacher.  Charles Henry Parkhurst said:

            “The completed beauty of Christ’s life is only the added beauty of little inconspicuous acts of beauty – talking with the woman at the well; showing the young ruler the stealthy ambition laid away in his heart that kept him out of the Kingdom of Heaven; . . . teaching a little knot of followers how to pray; kindling a fire and broiling fish that his disciples might have a breakfast waiting for them when they came ashore from a night of fishing, cold, tired, and discouraged.  All of these things, you see, let us in so easily into the real quality and tone of [Christ’s] interests, so specific, so narrowed down, so enlisted in what is small, so engrossed with what is minute.”  (“Kindness and Love,” in Leaves of Gold, Honesdale, Pa.: Coslet Publishing Co., 1938, p. 177)
            And so it is with being parents.  The little things are the big things sewn into the family tapestry by a thousand threads of love, faith, discipline, sacrifice, patience, and work. — Elder James E. Faust, “The Greatest Challenge in the World – Good Parenting,” Ensign, November 1990, p. 35

As parents read the newspapers and magazines and see what the world is trying to teach their children, they should become all the more determined that their children not be damaged by such sin and error. 

Parents should then provide the home life, the discipline, and the training that will offset and neutralize the evil that is being done in the world.  As children learn of the ugly things in the world, they must also learn of the good things in the world and the proper responses and proper attitudes. If parents understand that many children are denied family prayers and spiritual attitudes and proper teaching in their lives, then those parents should redouble their energies and their efforts to see that their own children receive good, wholesome training. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Train Up a Child,” Ensign, April 1978, p. 4

Develop family traditions.  Some of the greatest strengths of families can be found in their own traditions, which may consist of many things: making special occasions of the blessings of children, baptisms, ordinations to the priesthood, birthdays, fishing trips, skits on Christmas Eve, family home evening, and so forth.  The traditions of each family are unique and are provided in large measure by the mother’s imprint. — Elder James E. Faust, “Enriching Family Life,” Ensign, May 1983, p. 41

A man who holds the priesthood accepts his wife as a partner in the leadership of the home and family with full knowledge of and full participation in all decisions relating thereto.  Of necessity there must be in the Church and in the home a presiding officer (see D&C 107:21).  By divine appointment, the responsibility to preside in the home rests upon the priesthood holder (see Moses 4:22).  The Lord intended that the wife be a helpmeet for man (meet means equal) – that is, a companion equal and necessary in full partnership. Presiding in righteousness necessitates a shared responsibility between husband and wife; together you act with knowledge and participation in all family matters.  For a man to operate independent of or without regard to the feelings and counsel of his wife in governing the family is to exercise unrighteous dominion. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, October 1994

Prophets in all ages have counseled families to pray, study, work, and play together, to bind ourselves together in all holiness.  It is and ever will be the answer to happiness, peace, and unity in this world.  But it takes a commitment to do so – to do all we can. Knowing is not enough!  It takes a personal commitment to be “anxiously engaged,” to do everything possible. — Elder James M. Paramore, Ensign, May 1979, p. 60

Learning the lessons of the past allows you to walk boldly in the light without running the risk of stumbling in the darkness.  This is the way it’s supposed to work.  This is God’s plan: father and mother, grandfather and grandmother teaching their children; children learning from them and then becoming a more righteous generation through their own personal experiences and opportunities.  Learning the lessons of the past allows you to build personal testimony on a solid bedrock of obedience, faith, and the witness of the Spirit. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, May 2009, pp. 33–34

How should those who bear the priesthood treat their wives and the other women in their family?  Our wives need to be cherished.  They need to hear their husbands call them blessed, and the children need to hear their fathers generously praise their mothers (see Prov. 31:28).  The Lord values his daughters just as much as he does his sons.  In marriage, neither is superior; each has a different primary and divine responsibility.  Chief among these different responsibilities for wives is the calling of motherhood.  I firmly believe that our dear faithful sisters enjoy a special spiritual enrichment which is inherent in their natures. — President James E. Faust, “Keeping Covenants and Honoring the Priesthood,” Ensign, November 1993, p. 36

To you wives and mothers who work to maintain stable homes where there is an environment of love and respect and appreciation I say, the Lord bless you.  Regardless of your circumstances, walk with faith.  Rear your children in light and truth.  Teach them to pray while they are young.  Read to them from the scriptures even though they may not understand all that you read.  Teach them to pay their tithes and offerings on the first money they ever receive.  Let this practice become a habit in their lives.  Teach your sons to honor womanhood.  Teach your daughters to walk in virtue.  Accept responsibility in the Church, and trust in the Lord to make you equal to any call you may receive.  Your example will set a pattern for your children.  Reach out in love to those in distress and need. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,” Ensign, November 1995, p. 99

You sisters are the real builders of the nation wherever you live, for you have created homes of strength and peace and security.  These become the very sinew of any nation. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Women of the Church,” Ensign, November 1996, p. 67

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. — Anonymous

Elder Bruce R. McConkie declared in Nauvoo at the dedication of the Monument to Women:  “Where spiritual things are concerned, as pertaining to all of the gifts of the Spirit, with reference to the receipt of revelation, the gaining of testimonies, and the seeing of visions, in all matters that pertain to godliness and holiness and which are brought to pass as a result of personal righteousness – in all these things men and women stand in a position of absolute equality before the Lord.  He is no respecter of persons nor of sexes, and he blesses those men and those women who seek him and serve him and keep his commandments.” — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign, January 1979, p. 61

When evil wants to strike out and disrupt the essence of God’s work, it attacks the family.  It does so by attempting to disregard the law of chastity, to confuse gender, to desensitize violence, to make crude and blasphemous language the norm, and to make immoral and deviant behavior seem like the rule rather than the exception. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Let Our Voices Be Heard,” Ensign, November 2003, p. 18

We must understand that each of our children comes with varying gifts and talents. Some, like Abel, seem to be given gifts of faith at birth.  Others struggle with every decision they make.  As parents, we should never let the searching and struggling of our children make us waver or lose our faith in the Lord. 

Alma the Younger, when “racked with torment . . . [and] harrowed up by the memory of [his] many sins,” remembered hearing his father teach about the coming of “Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world” (Alma 36:17).  His father’s words led to his conversion.  In like manner, our teaching and testimony will be remembered by our children. — Elder Robert D. Hales, “Strengthening Families: Our Sacred Duty,” Ensign, May 1999, p. 32

The day is coming soon when no one will need to die without a temple marriage. . . . The day will come when there will be hundreds of temples all over the world, when there will not be one soul in the world, probably, who is more than a thousand miles away; and for a one-time experience in all one’s life, a thousand miles is not far to go.  It wouldn’t be far to crawl if one knew what he was getting and what he was missing if he didn’t go. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Marriage is Honorable,” BYU Speeches, 1973, p. 269

Brethren, noble fatherhood gives us a glimpse of the divine attributes of our Father in Heaven.  A father should be many things.  He should magnify his priesthood and be an example of righteousness.  In companionship with his wife, he should be the source of stability and strength for the whole family.  He should be the protector and the provider and the champion of the members of his family.  Much of his love for his children should flow from his example of love, concern, and fidelity for their mother. By his uncompromising example, he should instill character into his children. — President James E. Faust, “Them That Honour Me I Will Honour,” Liahona, July 2001, pp. 53-56

If a child is not listening, don’t despair.  Time and truth are on your side.  At the right moment, your words will return as if from heaven itself.  Your testimony will never leave your children. 

As you reverently speak about the Savior – in the car, on the bus, at the dinner table, as you kneel in prayer, during scripture study, or in late-night conversations – the Spirit of the Lord will accompany your words. — Elder Neil L. Andersen, “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus,” Ensign, May 2010, p. 110

I think some parents may not understand that even when they feel secure in their own minds regarding matters of personal testimony, they can nevertheless make that faith too difficult for their children to detect.            

We can be reasonably active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints, but if we do not live lives of gospel integrity and convey to our children powerful heartfelt convictions regarding the truthfulness of the Restoration and the divine guidance of the Church from the First Vision to this very hour, then those children may, to our regret but not surprise, turn out not to be visibly active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints or sometimes anything close to it. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “A Prayer for the Children,” Liahona, May 2003, p. 86

While our individual salvation is based on our individual obedience, it is equally important that we understand that we are each an important and integral part of a family and the highest blessings can be received only within an eternal family.  When families are functioning as designed by God, the relationships found therein are the most valued of mortality.  The plan of the Father is that family love and companionship will continue into the eternities.  Being one in a family carries a great responsibility of caring, loving, lifting, and strengthening each member of the family so that all can righteously endure to the end in mortality and dwell together throughout eternity.  It is not enough just to save ourselves. It is equally important that parents, brothers, and sisters are saved in our families.  If we return home alone to our Heavenly Father, we will be asked, “Where is the rest of the family?”  This is why we teach that families are forever.  The eternal nature of an individual becomes the eternal nature of the family. — Elder Robert D. Hales, “The Eternal Family,” Ensign, November 1996, p. 65

I bear witness that parents who consistently read and talk about the Book of Mormon with their children, who share testimony spontaneously with their children, and who invite children as gospel learners to act and not merely be acted upon will be blessed with eyes that can see afar off (see Moses 6:27) and with ears that can hear the sound of the trumpet (see Ezekiel 33:2–16). The spiritual discernment and inspiration you will receive from the combination of these three holy habits will enable you to stand as watchmen on the tower for your families – “watching . . . with all perseverance” (Ephesians 6:18) – to the blessing of your immediate family and your future posterity. — Elder David A. Bednar, “Watching with All Perseverance,” Ensign, May 2010, p. 43

A wise parent would never miss a chance to gather children together to learn of the doctrine of Jesus Christ.  Such moments are so rare in comparison with the efforts of the enemy.  For every hour the power of doctrine is introduced into a child’s life, there may be hundreds of hours of messages and images denying or ignoring the saving truths. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Teaching True Doctrine,” Ensign, April 2009, pp. 6-7

I think some parents may not understand that even when they feel secure in their own minds regarding matters of personal testimony, they can nevertheless make that faith too difficult for their children to detect.            

We can be reasonably active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints, but if we do not live lives of gospel integrity and convey to our children powerful heartfelt convictions regarding the truthfulness of the Restoration and the divine guidance of the Church from the First Vision to this very hour, then those children may, to our regret but not surprise, turn out not to be visibly active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints or sometimes anything close to it. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “A Prayer for the Children,” Liahona, May 2003, p. 86

To fathers and mothers, to grandfathers and grandmothers, and to those without children of their own who lovingly nurture children and youth, my counsel is to speak more frequently about Jesus Christ.  In His holy name is great spiritual power.  “There [is] no other name given nor any other way . . .  whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ (Mosiah 3:17).” — Elder Neil L. Andersen, “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus,” Ensign, May 2010, p. 109

At the time I was a new parent, President David O. McKay presided over the Church.  His counsel was clear and direct regarding our responsibilities to our children.  He taught us the most precious gift a man and woman can receive is a child of God, and that the raising of a child is basically, fundamentally, and most exclusively a spiritual process.

He directed us to basic principles we need to teach our children.  The first and most important inner quality you can instill in a child is faith in God.  The first and most important action a child can learn is obedience.  And the most powerful tool you have with which to teach a child is love.  (See Instructor, Vol. 84, Dec. 1949, p. 620) — Elder L. Tom Perry, “Train Up A Child,” Ensign, April 1983

As we go through life, even through very rough waters, a father’s instinctive impulse to cling tightly to his wife or to his children may not be the best way to accomplish his objective.  Instead, if he will lovingly cling to the Savior and the iron rod of the gospel, his family will want to cling to him and to the Savior. 

This lesson is surely not limited to fathers.  Regardless of gender, marital status, or age, individuals can choose to link themselves directly to the Savior, hold fast to the rod of His truth, and lead by the light of that truth.  By so doing, they become examples of righteousness to whom others will want to cling. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Set in Order Thy House,” Ensign, November 2001, p. 69

My plea – and I wish I were more eloquent in voicing it – is a plea to save the children.  Too many of them walk with pain and fear, in loneliness and despair. Children need sunlight.  They need happiness.  They need love and nurture.  They need kindness and refreshment and affection.  Every home, regardless of the cost of the house, can provide an environment of love which will be an environment of salvation. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, October 1994

President John Taylor asked the Saints:  “Do you have prayers in your family? . . . . And when you do, do you go through the operation like the guiding of a piece of machinery, or do you bow in meekness and with a sincere desire to seek the blessing of God upon you and your household?  That is the way that we ought to do, and cultivate a spirit of devotion and trust in God, dedicating ourselves to him, and seeking his blessings.” — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 20:118

Use the Church as a righteous tool to strengthen the home, but recognize that as parents we have the fundamental responsibility and privilege to be guided by the Lord in the upbringing of the spirit children He has entrusted to our care. — Elder Richard G. Scott

While our families are available to us we should take time to develop oneness, unity, and character.  Girls of today are the women of tomorrow.  Boys of today are the men of tomorrow.  The kind of men and women we produce for the future depends on how they are taught to use today.  How fortunate a child is to be raised in a home where love, respect, honor, integrity, and commitment are appropriately displayed each day.  Mothers and fathers, we invite you to enjoy the fruits of improved parent-child relationships beginning now.  Mothers and fathers classified as truly wonderful by appreciative children earn that rating by daily performance rather than by threat, procrastination, or purchase. We never give our children a lift when we give them a free ride. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Conference Report, April 1975, p. 127

People who argue that they have constitutional rights and want to use what they call their free agency to accomplish unrighteous ends abuse the idea of free agency and deprive others of their constitutional rights.  While many of our problems are caused by those who are deliberately trying to further their own selfish and devilish interests, there is also a vocal, misled minority which is responsible for other problems as they exist in our country and in our communities.  We must be equally vocal and firm in our efforts to maintain the quality of our surroundings, where we can enjoy family solidarity, which is the strength of any nation. We must take a firm stand against the concerted efforts in many areas to destroy the family unit. — President N. Eldon Tanner, “Thou Mayest Choose for Thyself,” Ensign, July 1973, p. 7

With the influences of evil that surround our children, can we even imagine sending them out in the morning without kneeling and humbly asking together for the Lord’s protection? Or closing the day without kneeling together and acknowledging our accountability before Him and our thankfulness for His blessings?  Brothers and sisters, we need to have family prayer.” — Elder Neil L. Andersen, “Prophets and Spiritual Mole Crickets,” Ensign, November 1999, p. 1

In the ordinances of the temple, the foundations of the eternal family are sealed in place.  The Church has the responsibility – and the authority – to preserve and protect the family as the foundation of society.  The pattern for family life, instituted from before the foundation of the world, provides for children to be born to and nurtured by a father and mother who are husband and wife, lawfully married.  Parenthood is a sacred obligation and privilege, with children welcomed as a “heritage of the Lord” (Ps. 127:3).

A worried society now begins to see that the disintegration of the family brings upon the world the calamities foretold by the prophets.  The world’s councils and deliberations will succeed only when they define the family as the Lord has revealed it to be.  “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Ps. 127:1).
            As we become more removed from the lifestyle of the world, the Church becomes more the welcome refuge for hundreds of thousands who come each year and say, “Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:3). — President Howard W. Hunter, Conference Report, October 1994

When evil wants to strike out and disrupt the essence of God’s work, it attacks the family.  It does so by attempting to disregard the law of chastity, to confuse gender, to desensitize violence, to make crude and blasphemous language the norm, and to make immoral and deviant behavior seem like the rule rather than the exception. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Let Our Voices Be Heard,” Ensign, November 2003, p. 18

I say to everyone within the sound of my voice, “Do not fail the Lord.”  We must accept the truth that the gospel principles are not on trial but that we are. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Fortify Your Homes against Evil,” Ensign, May 1979, p. 4

Keep the fire of your testimony of the restored gospel and your witness of our Redeemer burning so brightly that our children can warm their hands by the fire of your faith. — President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 2003, p. 84

I bear witness that parents who consistently read and talk about the Book of Mormon with their children, who share testimony spontaneously with their children, and who invite children as gospel learners to act and not merely be acted upon will be blessed with eyes that can see afar off (see Moses 6:27) and with ears that can hear the sound of the trumpet (see Ezekiel 33:2-16).  The spiritual discernment and inspiration you will receive from the combination of these three holy habits will enable you to stand as watchmen on the tower for your families, “watching . . . with all perseverance” (Ephesians 6:18) to the blessing of your immediate family and your future posterity. — Elder David A. Bednar, “Watching with All Perseverance,” Ensign, May 2010

At the same time, it is said we are the best people on earth, and the only friends God has. Admit this to be so.  We may not be so pure friends as he might desire, but we are the best there are; and if he suffers us to be cut off, he will have none left of any kind.  This is verily so.

We know that if we want a certain work done, we select the most proper individual for that job.  If he is not so good as we could wish, we take the best we have and use that individual.  So the Almighty, if he cannot have a people exactly to his liking, I do not know but that he will take the best there is, and manage and get along with them according to the wisdom he possesses. — “Self-Government,” a sermon by Elder Orson Hyde, delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, January 3, 1858; Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, pp. 150-58

How we treat those closest to us is of fundamental importance.  Violence, abuse, lack of civility, and disrespect in the home are not acceptable – not acceptable for adults and not acceptable for the rising generation.  My father was not active in the Church but was a remarkably good example, especially in his treatment of my mother.  He used to say, “God will hold men responsible for every tear they cause their wives to shed.”  This same concept is emphasized in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”  It reads, “[Those] who abuse spouse or offspring . . . will one day stand accountable before God.”  (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129.)  Regardless of the culture in which we are raised, and whether our parents did or did not abuse us, we must not physically, emotionally, or verbally abuse anyone else.  (See Richard G. Scott, “Removing Barriers to Happiness,” Ensign, May 1998, 85–87.  Some cultural imperatives are contrary to the Savior’s teachings and can lead us astray.  When I was in the South Pacific, I met a man who had investigated the Church for years.  He reported he was deeply touched when a Church leader taught at a priesthood conference, “Hands which you have previously used to hit your children are to be used to bless your children.”  He received the missionary lessons, was baptized, and has been a great leader) — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Can Ye Feel So Now?” Ensign, November 2012

Parents, the days are long past when regular, active participation in Church meetings and programs, though essential, can fulfill your sacred responsibility to teach your children to live moral, righteous lives and walk uprightly before the Lord.  With President Monson’s announcement this morning [lowering the age for young men to go on a mission to 18], it is essential that this be faithfully accomplished in homes which are places of refuge where kindness, forgiveness, truth, and righteousness prevail.  Parents must have the courage to filter or monitor Internet access, television, movies, and music. Parents must have the courage to say no, defend truth, and bear powerful testimony.  Your children need to know that you have faith in the Savior, love your Heavenly Father, and sustain the leaders of the Church.  Spiritual maturity must flourish in our homes.  My hope is that no one will leave this conference without understanding that the moral issues of our day must be addressed in the family.  Bishops and priesthood and auxiliary leaders need to support families and make sure that spiritual principles are taught.  Home and visiting teachers can assist, especially with children of single parents. — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Can Ye Feel So Now?” Ensign, November 2012

The righteous molding of an immortal soul is the highest work we can do, and the home is the place to do it.  To accomplish this eternal work, we should make our homes gospel centered.  When peace and harmony abound, the Holy Spirit will ever be present. The storms of the evil one can be stopped at the very entrance of our homes. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Spiritually Strong Homes and Families,” Ensign, May 1993

How we treat those closest to us is of fundamental importance.  Violence, abuse, lack of civility, and disrespect in the home are not acceptable – not acceptable for adults and not acceptable for the rising generation.  My father was not active in the Church but was a remarkably good example, especially in his treatment of my mother.  He used to say, “God will hold men responsible for every tear they cause their wives to shed.” This same concept is emphasized in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”  It reads, “[Those] who abuse spouse or offspring . . . will one day stand accountable before God.”  (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129)  Regardless of the culture in which we are raised, and whether our parents did or did not abuse us, we must not physically, emotionally, or verbally abuse anyone else. 

The need for civility in society has never been more important.  The foundation of kindness and civility begins in our homes.  It is not surprising that our public discourse has declined in equal measure with the breakdown of the family.  The family is the foundation for love and for maintaining spirituality.  The family promotes an atmosphere where religious observance can flourish.  There is indeed “beauty all around when there’s love at home.” — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Can Ye Feel So Now?” Ensign, November 2012

A worried society now begins to see that the disintegration of the family brings upon the world the calamities foretold by the prophets.  The world’s councils and deliberations will succeed only when they define the family as the Lord has revealed it to be.  “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Psalms 127:1). — President Howard W. Hunter, “Exceeding Great and Precious Promises, Ensign, November, 1994, p. 9

Under the plan of heaven, the husband and the wife walk side by side as companions, neither one ahead of the other, but a daughter of God and a son of God walking side by side.  Let your families be families of love and peace and happiness. Gather your children around you and have your family home evenings, teach your children the ways of the Lord, read to them from the scriptures, and let them come to know the great truths of the eternal gospel as set forth in these words of the Almighty. — “Selections from Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, March 2001, p. 64

Family preparedness is the key to meeting the needs of family members and is the foundation upon which Church preparedness is based.

When we speak of implementing family preparedness, we are referring to simple, basic things: a father exposing his son to his work so that the boy will see this important part of his father’s life; parents involving their children in planning the family budget; a mother teaching her daughter homemaking skills such as sewing and cooking; parents and children discussing together how a stable, well-balanced family behaves even in times of hardship, thus developing an understanding of healthy emotional strength.

The Savior taught us the key to the eternal law of parenthood and family living when he said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

“For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” (John 5:19–20.)

It is by example that parents truly teach their children how to prepare for and live the Lord’s way of life.

Family preparedness, as the term is used in Welfare Services, is far more than a slogan or a program.  It is a key whereby families accomplish their temporal salvation.  It permits a father and mother to teach by example a lesson learned from the scripture “For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth.”

For each father, family preparedness can be the process whereby he magnifies much of his true role as a patriarch in the home. By helping his children prepare themselves in each of the five areas of family preparedness, a father helps his children prepare to face the world with confidence.  Thus, when fathers take hold of tangible tasks, projects, and ideas – acting as teachers and counselors to their children – they further fulfill their responsibility as the patriarch to their families. — Presiding Bishop Victor L. Brown, “Church and Family Welfare,” Ensign, May 1976

And so today, the undermining of the home and family is on the increase, with the devil anxiously working to displace the father as the head of the home and create rebellion among the children.  The Book of Mormon describes this condition when it states, “And my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them.”  And then these words follow – and consider these words seriously when you think of those political leaders who are promoting birth control and abortion: “O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths.” — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, October 1970, p. 21

Act with faith; don’t react with fear.  When our teenagers begin testing family values, parents need to go to the Lord for guidance on the specific needs of each family member. This is the time for added love and support and to reinforce your teachings on how to make choices.  It is frightening to allow our children to learn from the mistakes they may make, but their willingness to choose the Lord’s way and family values is greater when the choice comes from within than when we attempt to force those values upon them.  The Lord’s way of love and acceptance is better than Satan’s way of force and coercion, especially in rearing teenagers. — Elder Robert D. Hales, Ensign, May 1999

There is not another community on the earth where families are loved, honored, respected and cherished as they are among the Latter-day Saints. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 11:289

Do you want your children to be Saints when they are grown up? . . . Then lay the foundation for their future life by teaching each little child what it should do. . . . Train that child by your own acts and words. . . . Teach the children so that when they go out from the presence of their father and mother, God is in all their thoughts. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 19:71

We must commence our labors of love and kindness with the family to which we belong; and then extend to others. . . . If we do not seek the welfare of the household of faith, we will sooner or later deny the faith. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 11:288

You may well say to yourselves, “If I can do as well as my parents, I think I shall do well, and be as good as I want to be, and I should not strive to excel them.”  But if you do your duty you will far excel them in everything that is good – in holiness, in physical and intellectual strength, for this is your privilege, and it becomes your duty. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 2:18

Remember, the family is one of God’s greatest fortresses against the evils of our day.  Help keep your family strong and close and worthy of our Father in Heaven’s blessings. As you do, you will receive faith and strength which will bless your lives forever. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1986, p. 43

A major reason the family is so important to the plan is really quite straightforward: it is the only place where we cannot hide from who we really are as we strive to become what we are destined to become.  In essence, a family is the mirror through which we become aware of imperfections and flaws we may not be able or want to acknowledge.  No one knows us better than the members of our family.  Thus, the family is the ultimate laboratory in mortality for the improving and perfecting of God’s children. — Elder David A. Bednar, Education Weeks, BYU-Idaho, June 28, 2003

The assurance that the resurrection will include an opportunity to be with our family members – husband, wife, parents, brothers and sisters, children, and grandchildren – is a powerful encouragement for us to fulfill our family responsibilities in mortality.  It helps us live together in love in this life in anticipation of joyful reunions and associations in the next.  – and, finally – 

The assurance of immortality also helps us bear the mortal separations involved in the death of our loved ones.  Every one of us has wept at a death, grieved through a funeral, or stood in pain at a graveside.  I am surely one who has.  We should all praise God for the assured resurrection that makes our mortal separations temporary and gives us the hope and strength to carry on. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Resurrection,” General Conference, April 1, 2000

God is our Father, and we are his children.  He has given us instructions.  We are to follow the path.  Righteous home life and activities, inspired teaching of gospel truths in the home, wise parental guidance, father presiding, and father and mother in counsel together – that’s the cure for the problems of our time, a remedy for ills in our families. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Therefore I Was Taught,” Ensign, January 1982

What a joy it is for us to see lively, sweet grandchildren with a loving grandparent in the midst of them.  Children love such occasions.  They love to have their grandparents visit them and to have them over for dinner, for family home evenings, and on other special events.  This provides opportunities for teaching ways to honor, love, respect, and care for those who are in their later years. 

Grandparents can have a profound influence on their grandchildren.  Their time is generally not as encumbered and busy as the parents’, so books can be opened and read, stories can be told, and application of gospel principles taught.  Children then obtain a perspective of life which not only is rewarding but can bring them security, peace, and strength. — President Ezra Taft Benson, “To the Elderly in the Church,” Ensign, October 1989